And so we move into the second semi-final in this year’s Eurovision preview, and the first two of the nineteen entries who will be fighting it out for ten places on the night of Thursday 12 May. First up are Bosnia & Herzegovina. Famously applauded just for managing not to be bombed whilst giving their results in their debut contest in 1993, the Bosnians have performed solidly in recent years, never failing to get through the semi-final stage and posting their best-ever result – 3rd place – in 2006. This year they’ve employed the services of Dino Merlin (who helped them to their first Top 10 placing in 1999) with Love In Rewind. With a much younger woman by his side and an awful lot of gingham, this is like Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra in a country hoe-down:
And now for the big return. Four years ago, following a dismal performance in which they came second last in the qualifier, Austria called it a day with Eurovision, claiming that the Eastern bloc vote had rendered the contest completely unfair. However, Germany’s victory last year saw the Austrians have a change of heart, and so it is that they return this year, hoping to be in the final for the first time since 2004. Nadine Beiler is the singer, and the song is The Secret Of Love. Her voice suffers from a severe case of Xfactoritis (indeed the whole thing looks, feels and sounds like it’s come out of Simon Cowell’s brain), but as a gimmick-free ballad it could get some votes just for being, in Eurovision terms, a bit different:
Time for tonight’s classics. For Bosnia, I could have picked songs of undoubtedly greater artistic merit. On the other hand, I could go for Deen with In The Disco. Chuck a copy of The Fame in G.A.Y. on a Saturday night and you’ll probably hit several dozen Deens, all bleached blond hair and throwing shapes to a bastardised version of Hot Stuff. Possibly:
Look, I’ve been pretty good so far, showing Eurovision isn’t all a load of camp fluff. As for Austria, well I’m afraid that once again the lure of camp was too strong to resist. You want a magnificently overblown Mitteleuropean ballad performed by a singer whose hair has been tamed with ozone-annihilating quantitites of Harmony hairspray? Then Thomas Forstner is your man. Here he is with the 1989 entry, Nur Ein Leid. It came 5th. Crank up the wind machine and enjoy:
Incidentally, Thomas came back for another go two years later and got the dreaded bagel. Not everyone can be Johnny Logan (fortunately). That’s it for tonight – tomorrow, the two-thirds of Benelux still doing Eurovision get scrutinised. See you then!